If you rent either a room or a whole property, you might be unsure about whether you need home insurance as a tenant.
While home insurance isn’t compulsory when renting, there is still an argument for having some cover in place. To work out what you need, it’s important to understand what type of home insurance options there are and what they cover.
Different types of home insurances
There are two main types of home insurance: contents and buildings cover. Let’s take a look at what each one covers and who is responsible for them.
- Buildings insurance covers the structure of the property if it’s damaged by floods, fire or storms, for example. It includes permanent fixtures and fittings like fitted kitchens or bathrooms. It usually also covers the heating and water system. If you’re a tenant, buildings insurance will nearly always be your landlord’s responsibility. Although you are expected to look after your rental property, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to keep up with regular maintenance and fix any issues that come up – as long as the problem wasn’t caused by you.
- Contents insurance covers what’s inside the home, such as furniture, clothes, jewellery, tech and so on. A good home contents insurance policy will cover your possessions in case of burglary or damage due to a disaster like a flood or a fire. Your landlord might have contents insurance as part of their insurance, but it typically only covers their own items like carpets or furniture. Therefore, you’ll need your own contents insurance to protect your personal possessions.
Do tenants need home insurance?
You don’t legally need to take out home insurance as a tenant. However, protecting your personal possessions is often a good idea.
Contents insurance can help by giving you financial protection if you find yourself needing to replace or repair items. Similar to life insurance or other cover, home insurance can also give you peace of mind. 41% of people say this is one of the main benefits of getting home insurance.
With ever-increasing living costs, your might be tempted to reduce insurance or not take one at all. But it’s good to keep in mind that home insurance can save you money in an event of theft or accident. This is especially true if you own many high-value items.
Should I take a home insurance when renting: What to consider?
It’s often recommended that tenants protect their possessions with insurance. But if you are still not convinced, here are a few examples to consider when making the decision.
- High-value items: If you own multiple high-ticket items such as tech gadgets, designer items, musical instruments, jewellery or bicycle, having an insurance cover is likely more important.
- Insurance/cover for individual items: If you only own 1 or 2 valuable items and have an individual cover for them (such as a gadget cover), home insurance might not be as relevant as in the above scenario.
- Unexpected costs: 30% of people say the cost of home insurance is one of the main reasons against taking one. But could you cover the potential expenses without one? If you would financially struggle to replace your necessary belongings in case of an accident or burglary, insurance can be a worthy investment.
- Shared accommodation: Living in a shared house is generally considered riskier. This is because you have less control over who’s in your house and your home’s security.
- High-crime neighbourhood: If you live in an area where crimes such as burglaries and thefts are more prevalent, the importance of insurance is naturally higher.
- Type of building: Houses and ground-floor flats are often considered at a higher risk of burglary. Therefore, contents insurance might be even more important for renters in these types of accommodations.
What type of home insurance should I get when renting?
There are a number of different types of home insurance for tenants. Here’s how to pick the right one for your needs.
Whole flat or house: If you rent out a whole property, you can buy a standard contents only policy to cover your possessions against fire, theft and other risks, such as accidental damage. It’s also worth checking whether your policy has tenants’ liability insurance. This covers accidental damage to a landlord’s fixtures, fittings or furniture, such as spillages on carpets.
Shared accommodation: If you share a house with other tenants or are a lodger renting a room, you’ll need tenants’ contents insurance. It only covers your own possessions, whether they’re in your room or communal spaces.
If you share a house with friends or other people you trust, it might be more cost-efficient having a joint contents insurance policy. This would cover the whole property and allows you to share the cost with your housemates.
Another option is room-only contents insurance. However, this doesn’t often cover any items left in communal areas. The insurance provider may also require you to install a lock on the door.
Personal possessions insurance: Typical contents insurance only covers items in your home. However, you can often upgrade your policy for a small fee to cover your belongings if they’re lost or stolen while you’re out and about.
Sponsored content: We are working with HSBC to understand the importance of home insurance as a tenant. All stats are from an HSBC UK survey unless otherwise stated.